Thursday, August 16, 2018

RAPE: A Loving Touch

Likely, I have grasped your attention using this provocative, yet apt, title. It is my precise intention to provoke thought. Take a moment to consider what I may mean by saying rape is a loving touch or how that thought originated.

Words matter greatly in relationships. Much of the conflict I see in child custody cases originates through differing applications of meanings to words or actions. I can give you a definition of “discipline” derived from assorted lexicons or use in a sentence; It was necessary for the athletes to have a coach to discipline them so they wouldn’t overwork their muscles and cause injury. Yet, ask a set of parents what it means to “discipline” a child and you may get one who is way off the mark and has a definition akin to retribution or vengeance. When uniformity in definitions is lacking conflict may arise. Similarly, there are situational definitions. What speed is “fast” when driving on the interstate or running in a hallway?

In statutes terms are defined, usually in a definitions section at the beginning of the chapter, as they may have a meaning far from that applied in the common vernacular. Worried about your child being abducted because of the total number of abductions reported? Don’t be. Some states define “abduction” to include keeping or withholding a child from another parent during a time that parent is to have custody or parenting time. Running a half hour late to the exchange and don’t give any notice? You may have “abducted” the child depending on your jurisdiction.

While most cultured adults can distinguish meanings to time or place it can become complicated for a child. Euphemisms, which require direct explanation or repeated situational experience to be understood, can be a great source of disjunct in interpretation by children.

There are two psychological bases for the use of euphemisms. First, some people choose to deceive by couching accurate explanation in vague Euphemisms. Meanings are hidden from those who are not part of the in-group which is privy to the understood meaning. “People who are invested in the community” seems like a neutral evaluation unless you know the demographic composition of the community. If you know that there is nearly 100% occupant/owners of well-above median priced homes who are white folks and that a nearby apartment complex is nearly 100% non-white renters then that phrase takes the meaning “non-whites”.

The other basis is avoidance. It is under this scheme in which people use euphemisms often relating to topics considered taboo. Similarly, the topics may be beyond the realm of the users capacity to accurately explain the meaning or context of the subject. This is where parents possessed of these deficiencies use the term “making love” as representative of the procreative interaction between organisms accurately termed “sexual intercourse.”

It is in under that context in which rape becomes a loving touch. That common Euphemism -- “making love” -- could represent sexual intercourse. In my application, making love and sexual intercourse differ significantly in meaning. Primarily that one describes a physical act between organisms and the other describes an emotional or cognitive act between people.

To “make love” should leave a person feeling desired, accepted, and in want of more. Engaging in sexual intercourse is simply the practice of an erect penis being inserted into the vagina, partially removed and repeated in a thrusting motion. It may culminate with ejaculation. I may be, but is not necessarily, parcel to a love making act. But, that same physical act is also parcel to rape.

So imagine that a child walks in on his parents while they are engaged in sexual intercourse and gets yelled at to get out of the room. Later he is told by his parents that they were “making love”. Alternatively, the intrusion upon parents who were simply cuddling while one gently strokes the forehead of the other stretching from the eyebrows into the hairline while applying gently kisses does not evoke the visceral reaction. This child, possessed of the flash of a visual stimulus of the physical act without accompanying associative audible cues to the emotional connection, gives the connotation “making love” to only the physical act of coitus.

Upon witnessing a rape or hearing it described what term does he associate to that act?

He has successfully been instructed that rape is a loving touch.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer ends his political career

What has happened to Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer since the 2018 primary election?

Although still the office holder, Meyer, who did not seek the nomination of the party for a fifth term as elected prosecutor, instead made a failed attempt to be the party’s nominee for Boone Circuit Court judge. Meyer was beat by Lori Schein in the 08 May primary. Tamie Morog also ran.

In 2002 Todd Meyer was ushered into office as a first term prosecutor for Boone County, Indiana. Since that time he has run unopposed for the office. In the 2010 primary while running unopposed he received 6274 votes. By contrast, total votes cast for sheriff’s office was 7714. Certainly some people saw no point in voting for an unopposed candidate. However, there has been a clear and growing contingent of citizens who oppose Meyer’s re-election. 2018 brought about Meyer’s foray into seeking higher office when a former chief deputy of his, Jeff Edens, retired as a one-term Boone Circuit Court judge.

Two others joined the race after Meyer. Both had dedicated campaign websites and reached out to the community. I was unable to find a dedicated site for Meyer but he did command a substantial newspaper presence and also appeared to be heavily favoured by owners of vacant commercial properties, some who live out of state.

Following the primary election I wrote about how voters can eject career politicians in Voters in Boone County Indiana choose to oust long-term officer holder. There I stated,
“Meyer was ejected from the next term of public office and, I think likely from future political office, because he lacks integrity. His interests are selfish.

I initially met him in 2003 and my first impression was that he was like the unskilled son who inherited the CEO position when daddy retired or died and is only able to put on the face of running the show because of the strength of those under him.

I felt that he was still on the tit. That he lacked the competence and fortitude to best serve the residents of Boone County. He is someone who gets upset, takes his toys and runs home to mommy for comfort. “


In the four weeks since the election Meyer has been noticeably absent from the prosecutor role. The people at the courthouse who usually keep me in-the-loop on these matters confirm his absence but in an unusually hushed tone as though something major has occurred. So now I suspect that Toddy gut upset that he wasn’t handed the position of judge as he had been prosecutor so he threw a tantrum, took his toys, and ran home to mommy.

But I could be in error.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Voters in Boone County Indiana choose to oust long-term officer holder

I often hear the laments of voters and non-voters [which include those who feel that it is pointless] who decry the power that career politicians hold on political offices. A particular solution which is continually proposed is to restrict the options of the electorate. These proposals center on the contention that voters should be barred from choosing experienced office holders following a particular number of their terms in service. However, there already exist a limit on the number of terms officer holders may have which does not impinge upon the options voters may have. Here I use the recent primary and a particular office holder as illustrative of that.

Voters in Boone County Indiana made a strong statement in the 2018 Republican Primary race for Boone Circuit Court Judge this month by employing this limit.

The number of contestants exceeding positions for local elections in Boone County and its cities and towns are still somewhat unusual - County assessor, clerk and prosecutor all had single candidates. But after the sitting judge of the Boone Circuit Court, Jeff Edens, decided not to seek re-election three candidates filed to become the Republican nominee to fill that vacancy. Those were Todd Meyer [elected county prosecutor], Tamie Morog [an attorney in private practice], and Lori Schein [a former deputy Boone County prosecutor now working for the DMV].

Lori Schein narrowly beat Todd Meyer, edging him by just 41 votes. The final tally was 3478 [33.6%] Schein, 3437 [33.3%] Meyer, and 1491 [14.4%] Morog[fn1]. That outcome brought to an end Meyer’s 16 year reign in the Boone County Courthouse as the elected prosecutor.

Although not statutorily barred from seeking re-election to the Office of the Boone County Prosecutor or judge of the Boone Circuit Court voters instead chose to remove him from elected office by employing their existing term-limit option. Of the total voters casting ballots during the 2018 primary only 33% were for Meyer.

In the 2014 primary race 5469 of the 7185 voters selected Meyer. At that time he received 76% of the vote. In 2018 when two additional candidates were on the ballot he dropped to 33%. All it took was the addition of candidates. The unchallenged candidate to replace him as prosecutor received 6968 [67.4%] votes.

Apparently there was constituent dissatisfaction with the status quo even though he was repeatedly re-elected while running unchallenged.

His tenure could conservatively be described as a pay-to-play system where prosecutions were withheld against criminals represented in private practice by his deputy prosecutors, plea agreements were regularly offered [some which included financial payment in lieu of incarceration], and prosecutions were initiated against potential civil litigants to protect their targets.

Routinely offenders who had committed offenses against other people escaped punishment through guilty pleas while avoiding jail time. While police departments and their officers worked diligently in attempting to curtail offenses and hold offenders responsible, their efforts were regularly eschewed by a prosecutor who sought a high conviction rate over protecting the community. The political aspirations were readily apparent during his first term. Meyer intended to use the position of prosecutor not as an opportunity to best serve the community but, rather, as a launch pad for higher political office. His case history supports this contention.

In one such case Meyer brought charges against a parent whom he accused of planning to murder her teenage daughter who had Down-Syndrome. Meyer alleged that the mother had surreptitiously placed over 100 pills into a soda can and gave to the daughter thus causing her death. After all pre-trial efforts by the defense team were denied by Judge Rebecca McClure [former prosecutor and deputy prosecutor currently], Meyer offered a plea to a reduced charge calling for 6 months of jail time and three years of probation. Meyer, being aided by McClure from the bench, should have had a slam-dunk case of a parent murdering a disabled child as he alleged. However, rather than risk anything other that a jury verdict of guilty he offered a plea -- six months in jail, as time served awaiting trial, for allegedly murdering a disabled child.

Recently a Letter to the Editor of mine was printed in the Lebanon Reporter in response to Meyer’s contradictory messages regarding the killing of Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Pickett and a plea agreement reached in a hostage taking incident where two juveniles were accosted and held at gunpoint. The plea agreement in the hostage taking incident was to the offense of not being licensed to carry the handgun used in the crime. In effect Meyer stated that had the offender obtained a license to carry the gun used in the crime that no offense would have occurred.

His contradictory statements about the revolving door for criminals sentenced by judges and his statement that judges give appropriate sentences, couple with his pleas that call for little or no incarceration, is the epitome of politically motivated action.

Meyer has been tough on some people though. Particularly when it comes to false allegations. In one highly publicized case Meyer sought convictions against victims of an arson fire. There, John Dixon was arrested and charged with a multitude of crimes including arson. This charge was based upon evidence as alleged in the charging information that; 1] Dixon ran from his burning residence after awakening to the fire, 2] moved his vehicle away from the front of the building, and 3] kept a small gas can in his work truck. Additionally, his girlfriend with whom he cohabitated was also charged in relation to the fire. Although charges against Dixon were dropped when John Middleton admitted to setting the fire, the girlfriend went to trial before a jury in the courtroom occupied by Rebecca McClure who clearly expressing hostility toward this fire victim, at one point slamming a folder on the bench and declaring that the victim was wasting the jurors’ time.

About 40 minutes after the conclusion of the trial the jury returned a not guilty verdict and two of the jurors hugged her and expressed their regret that she had been again victimized by having to go through the trial. She had already lost her home and contents including pets, children’s photos and momentos, plus other irreplaceables to an arsonist. A plea was offered to her calling for one year of no-report probation, no fees, and expungement of conviction upon the termination of the year but, as an innocent victim, she honorably declined the offer.

Then there are a multitude of Domestic Violence cases in which victims were prosecuted, charges were withheld against perpetrators, and perpetrators were overcharged. No consistency at all. When it comes to Domestic Violence in Boone County who you are and how you are related to government employees matters greatly.

You have likely heard that when it comes to criminal charges the amount you can pay to defend yourself has substantial influence on the outcome. In short, “justice” is for sale and poor people can’t buy their way out. Jack Trudeau, the Zionsville resident who played for the Indianapolis Colts was convicted of hosting an underage drinking party. In 2007, through a plea agreement, he paid a $5000 fine in lieu of jail time. In 2015 under a combined plea agreement he was sentenced to three days in jail after threatening to kill a Zionsville Police Officer and for his second drunk driving offense. His BAC was .31 in the immediate case.

Finally, as far as what I am mentioning here, is the use of the office for personal objectives. Twice I was charged and jailed for alleged crimes but when it came time to get the matters before jurors I was stymied at every turn by Meyer and his cohort Judge Steve David. Even after charges were dismissed and I filed a motion to reinstate the felony charge, risking imprisonment if found guilty, and demand for jury trial Judge David denied that request.

I had previously alleged through invitations to the trial posted around Lebanon that corruption by Judge David and Todd Meyer would be revealed at trial. Meyer filed a motion asking David to vacate the trial which he did without giving me an opportunity to respond.

I had also drafted a charge against Meyer for prosecutorial misconduct and submitted to the Disciplinary Commission of the Indiana Supreme Court which subsequently charged him with the offense. Although the underlying action of the alleged offense was published in a local newspaper no judge, lawyer, law enforcement officer or any other person aligned with the judicial system bothered to report the offense. That says quite a bit in itself.

Clearly Boone County residents had experienced enough of Meyer’s 16-year reign as prosecutor where these and similar incidents were the norm. Although Meyer had overwhelming support from owners of vacant properties throughout Lebanon it was not enough to overcome the feelings of his victims throughout Boone County - those people who have been impacted by the gross mishandling of the Office of the Boone County Prosecutor.

Meyer intended to use the Office of Boone County Prosecutor as a stepping stone to higher office. This is evinced by his frequent use of special prosecutors. He gains political clout for bringing the charge and “taking aggressive action” but then seeks a special prosecutor knowing that the case will crumble.

Voters can limit the number of terms of their elected officials and they don’t need a legislative act limiting their options to do it. What is needed is challengers of high ethical character who are willing to subject themselves to the grilling of the protectors of the status quo.

Meyer was ejected from the next term of public office and, I think likely from future political office, because he lacks integrity. His interests are selfish.

I initially met him in 2003 and my first impression was that he was like the unskilled son who inherited the CEO position when daddy retired or died and is only able to put on the face of running the show because of the strength of those under him.

I felt that he was still on the tit. That he lacked the competence and fortitude to best serve the residents of Boone County. He is like the child who gets upset, takes his toys and runs home to mommy for comfort.

He and other politicians like him should pack up and run home. Our elected officials should, foremost, demonstrate integrity. As voters it is our duty to demand it and throw them out when they don’t demonstrate it. Political office holders are bound by so many rules and receive ample assistance and advice from advisors that little more than character fitness is necessary.

Footnotes
1] Total does not equal 100% because voters choosing a Democrat ballot could not select Republican nominees. Total votes were 10336. Total votes for Republican nominees for circuit court judge were 8406. Highest vote for a Democrat position was 1583. Party selection of 347 voters is unknown.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Boone Circuit Court judge candidate Lori Schein in her own words

I asked each of the candidates six questions relating to what may be described as a candidate’s platform. These included the operation of the court, what they thought they could do to better serve the people appearing in court, their personal motivation to be a candidate, and what they could do to mitigate the impact of custody cases on children. Finally, I offered them an opportunity to submit an essay of any length to be reproduced here word-for-word. I did not ask for comment on specific cases or for prejudicial opinions -- that is, how he or she would rule on a potential matter before the court.

I contacted Lori Schein through Facebook to get an email address from her. She replied and I sent the questionnaire to that email address after having also sent it through her contact form on her campaign site. I had requested responses by the 16th, about one week later, but had not received a response by then. I sent a reminder to her email on the 18th.

As of 9:00am today I have not received a response to the questionnaire. If one is subsequently received I will update this posting promptly.

I had no plans to gather information about the candidates from their promotional materials or any other source for my purpose here. To do so now would compromise objectivity. Instead I encourage you to seek out information elsewhere and to check back here in a few days.

Thank you for your interest in the election. The 2018 primary election occurs on Tuesday 08 May.

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Boone Circuit Court judge candidate Todd Meyer in his own words

I asked each of the candidates six questions relating to what may be described as a candidates platform. These included the operation of the court, what they thought they could do to better serve the people appearing in court, their personal motivation to be a candidate, and what they could do to mitigate the impact of custody cases on children. Finally, I offered them an opportunity to submit an essay of any length to be reproduced here word-for-word. I did not ask for comment on specific cases or for prejudicial opinions -- that is, how he or she would rule on a potential matter.

I received the following response from candidate Todd Meyer;

“Thank you for your message and for your interest in the judicial race for Boone Circuit Court. I reviewed your proposed questions and consulted with the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications and regretfully must decline participation in this process. As you may know, as a candidate for judicial office I am required to follow the rules set forth in Indiana’s Code of Judicial Conduct. While I would like to respond to your questions I believe doing so may put me at risk of violating certain sections of the Code of Judicial Conduct, specifically Rules 4.1 and 2.4 that are more specifically explained within the respective comments to those rules.”

First, I feel that I should disclose that Todd Meyer has an incident in his past relating to a rule violation while prosecutor. An extra-judicial statement [one made outside of the courtroom] about evidentiary matters in an upcoming trial were attributed to him in a newspaper article. The problem with discussing evidence outside of the courtroom is that it could reach potential jurors yet later be ruled inadmissable. This potentially deprives the defendant of due process. It is a rather serious offense.

A complaint was made to the Disciplinary Commission of the Indiana Supreme Court not by the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, nor any other attorney but by the author here, yours truly -- Stuart Showalter. Meyer was susequently charged with misconduct. Thus, it is understandable that he would be reticent to provide comment to questions about judicial administration, especially to me.

I had no plans to gather information about the candidates from their promotional materials or any other source for my purpose here. To do so now would compromise objectivity. Instead I am providing the text of the two rules Mr Meyer cited and I will leave it to you to do your research or otherwise.

RULE 2.4: External Influences on Judicial Conduct
(A) A judge shall not be swayed by public clamor or fear of criticism.
(B) A judge shall not permit family, social, political, financial, or other interests or relationships to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment.
(C) A judge shall not convey or permit others to convey the impression that any person or organization is in a position to influence the judge.
Comment
[1] An independent judiciary requires that judges decide cases according to the law and facts, without regard to whether particular laws or litigants are popular or unpopular with the public, the media, government officials, or the judge's friends or family. Confidence in the judiciary is eroded if judicial decision making is perceived to be subject to inappropriate outside influences.

RULE 4.1: Political and Campaign Activities of Judges and Judicial Candidates in General
(A) Except as permitted by law,* or by Rules 4.1(B), 4.1(C), 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4, a judge or a judicial candidate* shall not:
(1) act as a leader in or hold an office in a political organization;*
(2) make speeches on behalf of a political organization;
(3) publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for any public office;
(4) solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution* to a political organization or a candidate for public office;
(5) attend or purchase tickets for dinners or other events sponsored by a political organization or a candidate for public office;
(6) publicly identify himself or herself as a member or candidate of a political organization;
(7) seek, accept, or use endorsements from a political organization;
(8) personally solicit* or accept campaign contributions other than through a campaign committee authorized by Rule 4.4;
(9) use or permit the use of campaign contributions for the private benefit of the judge, the candidate, or others;
(10) use court staff, facilities, or other court resources in a campaign for judicial office or for any political purpose;
(11) knowingly,* or with reckless disregard for the truth, make any false or misleading statement;
(12) make any statement that would reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending* or impending* in any court; or
(13) in connection with cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial* performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office.
(B) A judge or judicial candidate shall take reasonable measures to ensure that other persons do not undertake, on behalf of the judge or judicial candidate, any activities prohibited under paragraph (A).
(C) A judge in an office filled by partisan election, a judicial candidate seeking that office, and a judicial officer serving for a judge in office filled by partisan election may at any time:
(1) identify himself or herself as a member of a political party;
(2) voluntarily contribute to and attend meetings of political organizations; and
(3) attend dinners and other events sponsored by political organizations and may purchase a ticket for such an event and a ticket for a guest.
(D) A judge in an office filled by nonpartisan election other than a retention election, a judicial candidate seeking that office, and a judicial officer serving for a judge in an office filled by nonpartisan election may at any time attend dinners and other events sponsored by political organizations and may purchase a ticket for such an event and a ticket for a guest.

Thank you for your interest in the election. The 2018 primary election occurs on Tuesday 08 May.

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Boone Circuit Court judge candidate Tamie Morog in her own words

I asked each of the candidates six questions relating to what may be described as a candidate’s platform. These included the operation of the court, what they thought they could do to better serve the people appearing in court, their personal motivation to be a candidate, and what they could do to mitigate the impact of custody cases on children. Finally, I offered them an opportunity to submit an essay of any length to be reproduced here word-for-word. I did not ask for comment on specific cases or for prejudicial opinions -- that is, how he or she would rule on a potential matter before the court.

Tamie Morog says she wants to be the next Boone Circuit Court judge because she places families first. She feels that the incoming judge should have practical life experience as well as legal experience so as to foster just outcomes through applying the law to the facts. Additionally, she wants to implement her ideas to help decrease the illegal drug usage in our county.

Morog sees the high number of people coming into the courts without representation -- pro se litigants -- as the biggest problem facing the judiciary in Boone County and nationally. Nationally, in the majority of family law cases at least one party appears without representation. Morog states that the pro se litigants usually aren’t aware of “the ways to settle their cases out of court such as mediation, arbitration, Collaborative Law, etc. They take more time for the judiciary than their issues should take and do not provide the evidence that the Court needs to make the best decision for their family or their issue(s).”

Judges in the county courts have authority to set local rules to effectuate the efficient operation of their courts.

On the criminal side Morog would like to implement a drug court. She notes that although they “take more time at the beginning for the judge, drug courts have been found to be successful in various counties in Indiana” as well as in other jurisdictions.

On the civil side Morog would like to implement a local rule that orders that before the parties in a domestic relations case -- family law -- can litigate in Court they must spend some time in an Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR] forum. I have proposed and will continue to push for mandatory ADR at the state level in all child custody cases. For those of us who have worked in the child custody arena we know, as Morog says, “Court is the last place a family law case should be decided. Preparing for and litigating a case causes more harm, including money, for the family than good. In mediation, Collaborative Law, arbitration and other ADR methods the parents can work together for the best interests of the children and the family as a whole.”

Additionally, Morog notes that judges can order parents in custody disputes into mediation, counseling for the children, appointment of Parenting Coordination and can avail themselves of other resources to mitigate conflict.

In conclusion, Tamie Morog in her own words -

I have practiced family law in courts in Boone County and around central Indiana for 17 years. Boone County Circuit Court hears divorce cases and is the only court in Boone County where juvenile delinquency, Children in Need of Services (“CHINS”), and paternity (children born out of wedlock) cases are filed. If we work on the problems facing the Families in our county, many other issues will be decreased and/or resolved.

I have also raised 3 successful daughters; have a business degree from Ball State University; concentrated in tax and corporate law in law school, where I graduated Cum Laude, and; my husband and I have owned several successful businesses. Therefore, I have the general knowledge to sit on the bench where business, contract and other cases of general jurisdiction may be litigated.

My knowledge and experience make me the ideal candidate for this position.


Thank you for your interest in the election. The 2018 primary election occurs on Tuesday 08 May.

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©2008, 2018 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in its’ entirety with credit given.

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